Monday, March 26, 2012

Good News, Bad News.

Good news: I'm THISMUCH closer to finishing my Thesis. My original plans to finish on the 25th hit a snag -- mostly two major midterms and a bunch of extra assignments professors decided to give us because the majority of the class does not read what is assigned. Sigh.

Bad news (or perhaps it's good news for some of y'all, lol): No blog posts until I am done. The deadline is on the 31st so I have less than a week to finish. I should be back on Palm Sunday. I'm back on twitter and Facebook but won't have time to blog until then.

In the meantime, please enjoy these videos.

First: Like any other Hunter Hayes fan, I am encouraging y'all to vote for him for New Artist of the Year for this year's ACM Awards. Yes, I love country music. Yes, he is crazy talented; he played 30 instruments on his debut album. This video should help.

Ginger Rogers in Vivacious Lady. It's one of my go-to movies and this scene reminds me of my fight with my Thesis... and professors. Yes, I am Ginger Rogers (the blonde) in this case.

Okay... back to the salt mines. :D Hope y'all a great week.

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My Trip to Mission Santa Barbara

This is my last blog post for two weeks since I am taking a break from social networks (twitter, Facebook, XT3, tumblr, etc.). My Thesis is due at the end of this month, I am waaay behind because of other coursework I've had, and I need to really want to finish it with a couple of days to spare (just in case I need to edit some things) so I need to be completely cut off from distractions. Thank you to my big sis, Angelica, for the tips. :)

Before I get offline for the next two weeks, I wanted to share some pictures I took at Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, CA. I took the train up this past Wednesday since I wanted a break from the stress of school and I wanted to go somewhere from my Spring Break. It's only 2 hours-ish from L.A. so I was able to come back the same day.

Santa Barbara is beautiful. I would move there if it wasn't so expensive. The Mission is a couple of miles from the beach. If you don't mind the walk, it's doable (from the Mission to the beach or vice versa). If I could do it, and I was in the beginning stages of this darn cold, you can. :) By the way, (fun fact) this is the ONLY Mission in California that is still run by the Franciscan Order.

The view of the beach from the Mission is breathtaking. I don't think this picture does it justice. (By the way, click the pictures to see the bigger versions of them.) :)

This is the exterior of the Mission. I tried to get a picture without people but it was a tourist-y day. :)

Upon closer inspection of the plaque on the church fa├žade, we see this:

This is at the entrance to the interior of the Mission. It tells you how far the other nearby Missions are.

Part of the interior of the Mission. I believe this is the garden/courtyard.

Same garden/courtyard, different angle.

Because I'm a dork, various cacti on some steps next to the chapel.

This beautiful sculpture was found on the way from the garden/courtyard into the cemetery.

The bell tower from the cemetery.

Sign from the cemetery, heading towards the chapel.

The chapel altar. There wasn't much light and I couldn't use this flash. Sorry.

One of the many gorgeous paintings in the chapel.

The three Archangels.

Sculpture of Jesus coming out of the tomb and St. Mary Magadelen seeing him.

Sculptures of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi. Yes, that is natural light coming in.

The chapel from the back. It looks a lot brighter than it looked in person. Glad it came out well. :)

A painting of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven.

Painting of the Crucifixion of Our Lord.

A view of the exterior of the Mission at the southwest edge of the grounds. This was the last one I took before we walked back towards the beach.

I would've taken more except that I ran out of room in my camera and I didn't want my camera phone to die before we got home. I am planning on going back at some point and taking more pictures though, so stay tuned.

I hope to slowly work my way through all the Missions. I've already visited the San Fernando Mission and I posted not just one set of photos but two. I think either Ventura or San Juan Capistrano will be next. :)

Okay, I should really get some rest (ugly, slow setting cold; I even missed Mass today because it was too cold in the morning and my mother was worried I would get pneumonia). I will probably blog again around the 25th of March. I will only post something before then if something major happens.

I hope you all have a great rest of Lent (I'll be back before Easter). If y'all can say a little prayer that I can get through my Thesis (and other schoolwork) in the next 2 weeks, I'd greatly appreciate it. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

R.I.P. Fr. Alexander Lewis

This was a picture found on the Bishop Montgomery High School website, under the Alumni News.

If you're following me on twitter or have "liked" the Facebook page for this blog, then you might've heard that my confessor, Fr. Alexander Lewis, passed away over the weekend. He had a heart attack last Friday and passed away at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. Even though I'm still completely shocked and a bit numb (it has yet to sink in that he's gone), I'll admit that I sobbed for a good hour when I first found out.

I'd known Fr. Alexander since late 2006 when, shortly after my reversion, I started attending confessions at the parish where he was at. In fact, Fr. Alexander was one of the first priests I felt comfortable enough with to be able to give a proper confession. He was one of the first priests to tell me that I was occasionally too hard on myself (and I didn't realize it until it was pointed out). When the confession apps came out for the iPhone/iPod touch, I started using them and he always had a smile when I would whip my iPod touch out so that I didn't forget anything. He applied my Ash Wednesday ashes this year. If you read the first article I wrote for Envoy Magazine then you know how much I appreciated his help after my father's death. Basically, I feel like I owe a lot to him and his guidance.

The last actual conversation I had with him was on how I was doing with my anxiety. The last thing he said to me was that he would continue praying for me and my anxiety. It's a bit curious (looking back at it now) that I had a knot in my throat and I teared up a bit when he said that. Last Saturday, when I went to confession, I didn't see him there (in fact, only one of the usual three priests was there) but I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until Tuesday night that I found out why. The parish staff nor priests told the parishioners what happened until Monday morning. Since I didn't attend Mass that day (I was at Disneyland for the day), I didn't know until our downstairs neighbor told us. Both mom and I were shocked. We are still shocked. It probably won't hit me until I attend the Rosary and Vigil tomorrow. I haven't been able to attend Mass all this week (traveling and recuperating from the travel and sore muscles) so it'll be my first time back at the parish since he passed.

It's surreal. In a weird way, it felt like I had lost my dad all over again. I know it's not the same but this has been the second death that has really impacted me. Yesterday I went up to visit the Mission Santa Barbara (side note: a dream of mine is to make it to all the California Missions) and I could think of was Fr. Alexander's death and how he had also visited the Missions when he had a vacation a couple of years ago. (second side note: I'll post the pictures of the Mission Santa Barbara soon.)

I didn't give anything up this Lent... not in the usual way. I opted to add an act of kindness per day as well going to confession weekly since I've found out this is the best way to get me to be more aware of my thoughts and actions during the week. I also added things to my daily schedule and thus having less free time since that often gets me in trouble. Even though I didn't give anything up, I am still remembering what this time is about. Fr. Alexander's death has really set me in this mind frame that I should take a lot more time out of my day to really reflect. Not just passing because I'm stressed out over my Thesis (which is due at the end of this month). I am counting this as his (unintentional) last piece of guidance for me and my spiritual health. He might've passed away but what I learned from him hasn't. I know it's not the end for him (or at least his soul) and that he's in a better place now.

Fr. Alexander, thank you for everything you did for me and my family. We will all miss you. We will pray for your soul as well as for your family. (His father passed away about two years ago.) May you rest in peace.